Walker Walks

Zach Smith

Kyle Walker will be leaving the Lane (or Wembley…)this upcoming season to join Manchester City for a reported fee of approximately £50M. This was a move that many Spurs fans who have been following the Walker Saga anticipated, even though it appeared that talks between the two sides were chilling lately. The departure of Kyle Walker leaves us with a number of questions, not the least of which is whether Spurs plan to start Kieran Trippier at Right Back this season or find a replacement for Walker on the open market?

Before going any further, it is worth watching Kyle Walker say goodbye to the Spurs faithful. Although I am a bit sour by the move, transfers are simply part of football (until someone tries to swipe Harry Kane…) and we must accept them accordingly. Walker is genuine in his farewell to Spurs and appears to have just had a terrific crying session right before filming the video…


The Deal: Lots and Lots of Cash

Numerous outlets and reporters, including The Guardian’s David Hynter, are reporting that Spurs have sold Walker for a whopping £53M with £3 coming from “add-ons”, most likely dependent on Walker’s performance at City.* Although not quite the gargantuan fee Bale commanded when sold to Real, Kyle Walker is the second largest transfer departure in Spurs history. Needless to say, this is a big deal.

There’s no doubt that many Spurs fans, including myself, are admittedly a bit disappointed by Walker’s departure. Walker was a speed demon at RB, arguably the fastest man on the pitch at any given time. In addition, Walker was also a dynamic attacker, able to recover on defense when attacks were unsuccessful while also having the ability to put the ball in the back of the ol’ onion bag. Although Poch and Walker certainly had their issues with one another, Walker nonetheless continued to give 100% for Spurs and always provided an electric presence on the pitch. Walker was generally a rock solid performer and will be missed.

Selling players at the pinnacle of their careers is a strategy that Spurs have capitalized on for years and is a core part of their overall strategy. There are some players that are untouchable, like Harry Kane. Regardless of the sum offered for Kane, it is hard to imagine he will part ways with Spurs any time in the foreseeable future. For now, Spurs fans must be content with buying low and selling high, with the exception of a very few off-limits players. Although Walker is a top-tier talent at the peak of his career, it hasn’t been lost on me that Spurs went to the bank! I’m glad Levy pulled the trigger and remained adamant not to budge from his £50 transfer fee floor.


The Replacement: Fool’s Gold or the Real Deal?

Enter — Kieran Trippier.

Photo Credit: The Sun

Although there is undoubtedly speculation among many of the Spurs faithful that Levy, Poch, and the Board will bring in someone at RB to take the place of Walker, this speculation is unfounded.

A couple weeks ago, Spurs gave Kieran Trippier a big-boy pay raise — £65,000 per week. For this kind of money, it is hard to imagine that Spurs plan for Trippier to sit on the sidelines. Let’s take a look at what we are getting.

I outlined generally what I thought about Kieran Trippier in an article posted on American Spur a couple of weeks ago:

When I watch film of Kieran Trippier, it is obvious that he not only has the ability to sprint along the wings and attack, but he also seems to have developed some chemistry with other Spurs. Trippier isn’t afraid to deploy trickery and depend upon his teammates when attacking — like stopping and no-look-passing to a teammate. What is just as important is that Spurs players generally respond well to Trippier’s trickery and anticipate his moves. In addition to to chemistry, Trippier is fast (not Walker-fast) and is able to create chances for his teammates while in the box. Oh, he can also defend, although not quite at an elite level.

Kieran Trippier is no Kyle Walker, though, at least not yet. It’s also worth mentioning that the dude has a two-year old who apparently keeps him up all night. At bottom, jury is out on Trippier, but he is naturally gifted and his potential should not be underestimated. As a Spurs fan, you must learn to accept some level of risk. Be happy that we replaced Walker with a guy who could start for virtually any mid-level Premier League club.

To be honest, I was quite shocked when I read a recent piece about Walker written by ESPN FC’s Dan Kilpatrick. In this article, Kilpatrick correctly points out that Trippier has only started 11 Premier League games and Kyle Walker was preferred to Trippier. This article by Kilpatrick is completely writing off Trippier before he ever begins. Of course he is was not preferred to Kyle Walker — he’s younger, been with the team for a shorter amount of time than Walker, and has only had limited opportunities to play first team football. Consider this: Kieran Trippier was ranked 2nd last season in the Premier League for most frequent assists per minutes.**


Conclusion

The transfer fee of £53M for Kyle Walker is certainly justified given Spurs’ aspirations moving forward. Kieran Trippier will serve as a suitable substitute, although the extent to which is still in question. Spurs get an A- grade for this transfer.

* Note: transfermarkt.com is reporting that the fee was only £43M. This report is contrary to the majority of reporting.

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